Tri-Cities private sector wage up in Nov, Johnson City drops to last place in state comparison


Private sector wages increased 1.5% in the Johnson City MSA in November. It’s the fourth straight month the average has increased this year, but it wasn’t enough to keep the three-county area from dropping into last place in a ranking of wages across the state.

Wages were also up in the Kingsport-Bristol MSA, but only by 0.2%. However, the weekly year-to-year average has increased every month this year in that four-county area.

November’s average private sector wage was in the Johnson City MSA was $599. It was $590 November last year and $599 in November 2013.

The average in Kingsport-Bristol was $637, a dollar higher than the same month last year.

INFLATION AND BUYING POWER

When last month’s weekly wage in the Johnson City MSA is adjusted for inflation from a November 2008 pre-recession benchmark it had $47 a week less buying power.

Buying power for Kingsport-Bristol private sector workers increased by $16 a week when the same inflation adjustment is made.

KINGSPORT-BRISTOL NOW TRI-CITIES PRIVATE SECTOR WAGE LEADER

In a trend that hasn’t received much attention, Kingsport-Bristol has become the MSA with the highest average private sector wage in the Tri-Cities.

When compared against the averages for 2008 – the year before the Great Recession hit here – Johnson City’s average wage was higher that it was in Kingsport-Bristol in 11 out of 12 months.  It was a pattern that was in place for several years that was reversed by the recession and the recovery in the Johnson City MSA.

Government jobs have an 8% higher share of all jobs in the Johnson City MSA than they do in Kingsport-Bristol.

 

AVERAGE WORK WEEK

The average hours worked increased in Johnson City last month while they declined in Kingsport-Bristol

November’s average in Kingsport-Bristol was 36.4 hours, down from 36.9 November last year and from 36.7 in October.

In Johnson City it was 34.5 hours compared to 34.6 the same month last year and 34 hours a week in October.

When compared to a pre-recession benchmark Kingsport-Bristol private sector workers worked an average of a half an hour a week less last month while their counterparts in the Johnson City MSA were working 0.2 fewer hours a week.

HOW OCTOBER STACKS UP AGAINS ANNUAL 2014 WAGE

The annual median salary for a full-time man in the Kingsport Bristol MSA in 2014 was $41,874. The median wage for a woman working full-time there was $31,453. The median for all workers was $26,142.  October’s average annualized private sector was is $33,488.

In the Johnson City MSA the median 2014 wage for a man working full-time was $36,916. For a woman working full-time it was $30,594. The median for all of that MSA’s workers was $24,705. October’s annualized average private sector wage is $31,564.

TRI-CITIES PRIVATE SECTOR WAGES RANK LOW IN REGIONAL, STATE COMPARISON

Johnson City MSA slipped into last place in a comparison of the average weekly wages in Tennessee MSA’s in November.

Johnson City and Jackson are usually the last two MSAs in the ranking.

Morristown has the highest wage among the smaller MSA in East Tennessee while Knoxville had the highest average wage in the state last month.

COST OF LIVING FACTOR

Unfortunately I haven’t found a cost of living index based on the MSA level to factor it into the wage comparison. We do know the Tri-Cities have a lower cost of living that the national average. But most of those comparisons are made on the city level.

Sperlings’ BestPlaces has a tool to compare the cost of living with other cities http://www.bestplaces.net/compare-cities/ 

 

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